Ramon : There is not much use to getting back into the overly mentioned feud between Venom frontman Cronos and his ex-band members. Nor is it necessary in any way to choose sides, although it almost seems like you are being forced to do so. And there absolutely is no use in pondering over the line-up of the first albums. That will never happen, so the only options you have are no Venom, or two Venoms. A luxury that could be worse, I’d reckon. In fact, only one question really remains, is Cronos still delivering up to par with his Venom? His band, in which he is backed up by the very tight drummer Dante (Danny Needham) and guitarist La Rage (John Stuart Dixon), has now delivered two full albums and thought the time was about right to give another sign of life back to the loyal fans.
And that brings us to the answer of the question above. Cronos seems to have grown quite a bit as a producer, or he had some help. Compared to ‘From The Very Depths’ from 2015 a clear step forwards is made in the sound. Compared to the songs, all three of them are fine listening material in itself, but none of them would have been in amongst your favourites, should they have been on the last album. The vocals and vocal lines may be a bit predictable, but you can just as easily say that he meets all the expectations of his fans. The drums, anyone who paid attention the last years, will not be surprised about that either. Nicely tight, fanatic and in a perfectly serving role in the rhythm section.
The guitars, something special can be said about that. La Rage seems to have had the mission no longer to operate in the shadow of his predecessor Mantas and to show his own musical identity. And that deserves some credits on one hand, but at the same time this is the first time the guitars do not reveal immediately that this is Venom. And he also plays solos with overdubs, which are impossible to reproduce live. But ok, if you want to move on, rather than look back, you have to take a risk every now and then. He does. The outcome might give a reason to have a friendly band talk. But, for the die-hard fans this is a sign of life that they should be able to digest. To go short, this is a recognisable Venom record, but with elements that are a bit unexpected.